These easily recognizable traditional Greek Cookies, aka Koulourakia, are often associated with Greek Easter. Once you taste these not too sweet, slightly crunchy on the outside and tender soft on the inside biscuits, with just a subtle hint of orange and vanilla, you will be making Koulourakia throughout the year.
3½- 4 cupsall purpose flour420- 480 grams (3½ + ½ cup separated)
3/4cupgranulated sugar150 grams
zest of 1 orange
1/2cupbutter115 grams, cubed, room temperature
1largeegg yolkroom temperature
1/4cuporange juicefreshly squeezed
1teaspoonouzoor Sambuca (optional)
2tablespoonssesame seedssprinkled on egg wash
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Place rack in the center of oven. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Sift together 3½ cups flour and baking powder and set aside. The other 1/2 cup of flour is reserved in case we need to add extra flour (see recipe note).
In a bowl of a stand mixture, with the paddle attachment, whisk together the orange zest and the sugar.
Add the cubed room temperature butter and cream together with the sugar until light and fluffy. This can take up to 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Add the eggs, one at a time beating well and scraping down the bowl between each addition.
Add the egg yolk and again, beat well and scrape down the bowl.
Add the vanilla extract, orange juice, milk and ouzo (if using). Beat together for 30 seconds.
On low speed, add the 3½ cups of flour and baking powder. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a few tablespoons of flour if the dough is still sticky. (Optional: cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes).
With a medium sized cookies scoop, portion and roll into a 7-inch log.
Shape into desired shapes (braids, pinwheels, twists, etc...) Refer to pictures in the post.
Place on parchment lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 13 minutes or until cookies are golden brown.
Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to completely cool down.
Can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks. Cookies can also be frozen.
The dough should be soft, but not sticky. If the dough is still a bit sticky, add up to 1/2 cup a flour, one tablespoon at a time until it is soft but not longer sticky. OPTIONAL: During last minute of baking switch to broil (the tops will become slightly golden in color).Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.